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Image shows visitors watching a film in the gallery projected over large screens to the left and centre of the photograph. The film shows a landscape with a green glowing swamp and trees.

Kelly Richardson

The Weather Makers

23 September - 26 November 2017

The Weather Makers was the first solo exhibition in Scotland by Canadian artist Kelly Richardson, programmed in partnership with Discovery Film Festival.

Richardson creates hyper-real digital films of rich and complex landscapes that have been manipulated using CGI, animation and sound.

Image shows a film projection, looking along the wall at a sharp angle towards a door. The film still shows a rocky landscape, like the surface of mars. The gallery has a warm glow from the light of the projection.

Weaving together myth and metaphor with scientific research and new digital technologies, The Weather Makers presented three large-scale video works alongside a new print series.

The exhibition asked the viewer to consider what the future might look like if we continue on our current trajectory of planetary pillaging and consumption, and why we have allowed ourselves to arrive at such a moment of global environmental crisis.

A 12-metre-long panoramic view of a Martian landscape set hundreds of years in the future, Mariner 9 (2012) presented in partnership with NEoN Digital Arts Festival, evoked the human search for life beyond our own planet that continues even as we damage or destroy entire ecosystems on Earth. This vast video work was created using scenery-generation software employed by the film and gaming industries in combination with technical data from NASA’s missions to Mars to produce a faithful artist’s rendering of Martian terrain, populated by the debris from centuries of exploration.

Image shows visitors watching a film in the gallery projected over two large screens to the right of the photograph. The film shows a landscape with a green glowing swamp and trees. Behind the visitors, to the left, can be seen another film projected over two screens, with a blue glowing landscape with bright lights in a dark sky.

In Orion Tide (2013-14), Richardson presented a desert punctuated by spurts of light and smoke repeatedly launching into the dark night sky. The viewer was left to question what these rocket-like movements are; why they have been launched; and who or what they are carrying. They could be departing explorers searching for a new world or perhaps the escape of a group of planetary refugees, a mass exodus of humanity.

In Leviathan (2011), a 20-minute loop of footage shot on Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas displayed the region’s unique bald cypress trees in their swamp environment. Filmed from a single vantage point, like a painting set in motion, Richardson digitally enhanced the nearly monochromatic setting with strange yellow tendrils of light, undulating and twisting beneath the water, hinting at an undiscovered or mutated bioluminant life-form, or perhaps the aftermath of something altogether more disturbing.

This photograph shows two black and white images of trees, installed on a grey wall in the line next to each other. They are framed and square. The trees are skeletal and white, with a black sky behind their branches. The is one tree in each image, in the centre.

Accompanying the exhibition’s large-scale video works were Richardson’s latest series of chromogenic prints, Pillars of Dawn, which present images of an imaginary desert in which trees and terrain have been physically crystallised by changes in the environment.

As part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Kelly was also invited to curate an exhibition of digital art making reference to both her own immersive landscape work and the festival theme of Media Archaeology. That exhibition ran in Centrespace in the Visual Research Centre on the lower ground floor of DCA,  from Sat 11 November - Sun 19 November 2017. 

Artist Interview | Kelly Richardson on The Weather Makers

Image shows visitors watching a film in the gallery projected over large screens to the left and centre of the photograph. The film shows a landscape with a green glowing swamp and trees.

About the artist

Richardson currently lives and works on Vancouver Island where she is Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the University of Victoria. Her work is held in many major international collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, SMoCA and Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Arts Council Collection England and Towner, Eastbourne.

Her work has been selected for the Beijing, Busan, Canadian, Gwangiu and Montreal biennales, and recent solo exhibitions include SMoCA, CAG Vancouver, VOID Derry, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, and a major survey at the Albright-Knox.

Exhibition images

This photograph shows a series of black and white images of trees, installed on a grey wall in the line next to each other, going into the distance. The trees are skeletal and white, with a black sky behind their branches.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.
Image shows two video projections. On the right we see a two screen projection of a landscape with a blue glow and bright lights in a dark sky.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.
Image shows visitors watching a film in the gallery projected over two large screens to the right of the photograph. The film shows a landscape with a green glowing swamp and trees. Behind the visitors, to the left, can be seen another film projected over two screens, with a blue glowing landscape with bright lights in a dark sky.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.
Image shows a film projection, looking along the wall at a sharp angle towards a door. The film still shows a rocky landscape, like the surface of mars. The gallery has a warm glow from the light of the projection.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.
Image shows visitors watching a film in the gallery projected over large screens to the left and centre of the photograph. The film shows a landscape with a green glowing swamp and trees.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.
This wide shot photograph shows an installation in gallery two, with two photographs on a grey wall to the left of the image. The rest of the gallery is boxed in to make a dark space where projected films are shows. The film we can see shows a blue glowing landscape with bright lights in a dark sky.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.
This photograph shows two black and white images of trees, installed on a grey wall in the line next to each other. They are framed and square. The trees are skeletal and white, with a black sky behind their branches. The is one tree in each image, in the centre.
Photograph by Ruth Clark.